The Crosslinguistic Study of Language Acquisition - Vol. 3

By Dan Isaac Slobin | Go to book overview

language development and the particular forms of language children are exposed to in the different communities. For example, adults in Yuendumu recognize differences in the way of talking in the different communities. Some claim that it is acceptable in Lajamanu to use ngku/ngki on long words that are the subject of a transitive verb, whereas in Yuendumu it is not good Warlpiri. How this is reflected in children's forms remains to be studied. Although a verbal suffix yi is part of the grammar in some dialects of Warlpiri, I found no clear evidence for it in the data from the children. This may be one of the areas of change, but it needs investigating.

Results from a test similar to experimental test 1 on word order and case conducted at Willowra and at Lajamanu showed that the Willowra children understood sentences with two case-marked nominals slightly better than the Yuendumu children, whereas the Lajamanu children had high error rates. The Lajamanu children also left off case markers in obligatory contexts in the production data. A more systematic study of the input language is crucial to understanding the relationship between language acquisition and language change. Another area of research is the relationship between written language and spoken language. Swartz ( 1988) notes that word order in the written language is significantly different from the spoken. As more people become literate in Warlpiri, there may be some reflection on the spoken forms.

The relationship between language acquisition and language change is, perhaps, the most interesting aspect of the acquisition of Warlpiri (see Bavin, 1989b). Although the language is changing as the contact with English increases, some aspects of language change are internally motivated. Most notably, the formal complexity of the system causes problems in the acquisition task, and irregularities are leveled. Two areas that have been touched on briefly in the developmental data are the acquisition of the particles and of the preverbs. Both add information to more basic propositions, and both warrant further investigation.


REFERENCES

Aksu-Koç, A. A., & Slobin, D. I. ( 1985). The acquisition of Turkish. In D. I. Slobin (Ed.), The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition (Vol. 1, pp. 839-878). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Andersen, E. ( 1980). The acquisition of register variation by Anglo-American children. In B. Schieffelin & E. Ochs (Eds.), Language socialization across cultures (pp. 153-161). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bavin, E. L. ( 1987). Anaphora in children's Warlpiri. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 10(2), 1-11.

Bavin, E. L. ( 1989a). The acquisition of form-function mappings in the Warlpiri tense-aspect system. Unpublished manuscript.

Bavin, E. L. ( 1989b). "Some lexical and morphological changes in Warlpiri". In N. Dorian (Ed.),

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The Crosslinguistic Study of Language Acquisition - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Format and Abbreviations for Glosses ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Acknowledgments 12
  • Acknowledgments 13
  • 1 - An Overview of Ergative Phenomena and Their Implications for Language Acquisition 15
  • References 36
  • 2 - Acquisition of Georgian 39
  • Acknowledgments 107
  • Acknowledgments 107
  • 3 - The Acquisition of West Greenlandic 111
  • 4 - The Acquisition of K'Iche' Maya 221
  • Introduction 222
  • 5 - The Acquisition of Warlpiri 309
  • References 368
  • 6 - The Acquisition of Mandarin 373
  • References 445
  • 7 - The Acquisition of Scandinavian Languages 457
  • References 551
  • 8 - The Acquisition of Sesotho 557
  • References 633
  • Subject Index 639
  • Author Index 649
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